February 5, 2011

Focaccia with Rosemary and Sage

Focaccia with rosemary and sage, doesn't that sound wonderful? A little sea salt and olive oil on top... Mmmm... A great accompaniment to a salad, some soup, or made into a sandwich and pressed in a panini maker!

Did you know that you can kill yeast by using water that's too hot? I didn't know that :) I learned that earlier this week, I was a little overzealous in my heating of the water that I used in the dough... What ended up happening was that the dough didn't rise at all and when baked resembled a doorstop. So don't use water that's really hot!

Focaccia with Rosemary and Sage
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup warm water
1 envelope yeast
1 tsp. sea salt
3 cups flour
3/4 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves
3 Tbsp. warm water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup cold water

sea salt
olive oil
chopped fresh sage
chopped fresh rosemary

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup of warm water, honey and yeast. Set aside for 8-10 minutes, it should begin to form bubbles and release a delicious yeasty aroma. In either a large bowl or a food processor, combine the 3 cups of flour, 1 tsp. of sea salt and 3/4 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, mix well. Once the yeast, water and honey have started to froth, mix together with the remaining 3 Tbsp. of warm water, 3 Tbsp. of olive oil and 1 cup of cold water. Add this liquid mixture to the flour, mixing either by hand or in the food processor. This will form a sticky dough. Turn this sticky dough onto a floured work surface and knead for 3 minutes, incorporating more flour as needed. Place in an oiled bowl, brushing the top of the dough with olive oil also, and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise until at least doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours. This will also smell wonderful :)

Preheat your oven to 400. Lightly flour a baking sheet. Take your dough, punch it down so it's no longer inflated, and form a thick sheet of focaccia. Using your fingers, make indentations in the top of the dough, so small amounts of olive oil can sit inside. Sprinkle the top with the sage, rosemary and sea salt, liberally distribute olive oil over the top. Allow to rest and rise a little bit on the baking sheet, about 15 minutes.

Bake for about 15 minutes, a little longer for a more lightly browned outside. Enjoy! We ate this as a snack, and then the next day we made sandwiches with provolone and ham in a panini maker- these were delicious and really fast and easy! Don't have a panini maker? Just use a pan over low heat on the stove and use a heavy pot cover or bacon press to press the sandwich.

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